“We Will Not Go Back” – support march for justice

New Action supports the “We Will Not Go Back” march on Staten Island this Saturday, August 23, 2014. Further, we support the UFT leadership’s decision to be a sponsor.

The event, called by the National Action Network, is demanding justice for the deaths of Eric Garner, 43-year-old father of six from Staten Island, and 18-year-old Michael Brown, killed in Ferguson, Mo. There are three co-sponsors: the NAACP, the UFT, and SEIU-1199.

Garner, a Black man from Staten Island, died after being placed in a chokehold by a policeman on July 17. He had been selling loosies. Michael Brown, a Black man, was shot at least six times by police and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 7. The killing has generated protests in Ferguson and around the country. The protests in Ferguson have been met by disproportionate police force, including military equipment and paraphernalia, including tear gas, tanks, assault weapons, and sniper rifles.

The Staten Island Advance quoted de Blasio:

De Blasio said protesters should model their rally after a 2012 peaceful march in which he was a participant to change the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.
“It was the decisive moment in crystalizing support for change in the stop-and-frisk policy,” said de Blasio, according to the report. “It was an absolutely peaceful demonstration that got its message out and there was absolute coordination between the police and protesters.”

In the wake of the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, New Action’s Michael Shulman proposed to the UFT Executive Board a resolution opposing stop and frisk. A similar resolution was passed, and the UFT’s stance led the way to a citywide coalition calling a powerful demonstration. Opposition to stop and frisk became a key plank in Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor.

There has been some negative reaction to the march and UFT’s role. The PBA’s president denounced Mulgrew. Others have questioned the leading role of Al Sharpton. While we understand the objections, the march is organized for justice, not against an organization or for an individual. New Action strongly supports the march. Marching for justice is the right thing to do. Further, New Action applauds our UFT leadership for endorsing the march. We are with Mulgrew on this one.

Assemble at Bay Street and Victory Boulevard, Staten Island (short walk from the Staten Island Ferry), 11 AM this Saturday, August 23, 2014. The march kicks off at noon, and is scheduled to end at 3. See here for directions. Or click here to see if you can get a seat on a bus caravan.

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